Herbs and spices offer a gentle, all-natural hangover cure. But before we get into curing a hangover let’s understand what creates one in the first place.
We’ve all been there before… We party a bit too hard and wake up with that dreadful “I’m never drinking again” feeling. You might actually be feeling that right now as you’re reading this. OH NO! Your head is pounding and you feel like crap.
Is there any way to brush off that feeling and make the day productive?
Glad you asked!
Before we get into curing a hangover let’s understand what creates one in the first place.
What is a Hangover?
When alcohol enters your bloodstream, it tells your pituitary gland not to produce vasopressin, which is the hormone that typically keeps your body lubed up with moisture. Without vasopressin, liquids get siphoned straight to your bladder, which is why you really open the floodgates after the first time you pee during a boozy evening. When you’re drinking, you lose about four times more liquid than you gain, which also causes the dehydration that leads to that wonderful cotton mouth and headache that come with a hangover. Ever wonder why exactly dehydration causes a headache? It’s because your organs are so desperate they steal water from your brain, which causes your brain to shrink. A shrunken brain pulls on the membranes that connect the brain to the skull, and that, naturally, hurts like a mother.
You also feel weak and generally depleted because all that peeing rids your body of salt, potassium, and magnesium which are important for normal nerve, muscle, and cell function. Alcohol also breaks down and makes you pee out glycogen, which in a non-drunk is a natural source of energy in your liver.
When we metabolize alcohol, our livers create an extremely toxic substance called acetaldehyde. Humans have handy enzymes that break down acetaldehyde called acetaldehyde dehydrogenase and glutathione. But when we drink too much, the enzymes can’t keep up, and the toxin builds up, increasing the severity of headaches and nausea.
Not So Fun Fact: Red wine and dark liquors like whiskey, brandy, bourbon and tequila produce more impurities, called congeners, during fermentation than lighter colored alcohol like wine, rum and vodka. Congeners basically make all hangover symptoms worse.
So now you know the cause…
Now let’s get to the hangover cures:
Get some potassium in you! As you learned above potassium is leached from your body as your partying it up. Unsweetened coconut water is great. Have a banana.
POWERFUL RULE OF THUMB: For every 2 drinks consume 1 electrolyte packet or tablet.
EAT BEFORE AND AFTER YOU DRINK:
No, not greasy pizza and fast food burgers! A full stomach of healthy foods before drinking absorbs alcohol and protects your stomach lining. Breakfast the next day including eggs, bananas and fruit juice contains important hangover combatants like cysteine, potassium and fructose. A sports drink can help replace electrolytes, sugars and salt lost with all the peeing. But as much as you crave coffee, caffeine will only make you more dehydrated.
You now understand hangovers and know that drinking severely dehydrates you. We probably don’t need to tell you but we’re gonna tell you anyway. DRINK A LOT OF WATER… one glass of water per glass of alcohol. (and if you’ve been paying attention that second glass will have electrolytes)
EAT LIVER PROTECTING FOODS
Broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts contains enzymes that support liver detox, so eat em up. We also love to drink dandelion root tea, or I take it in a supplement form.
This stuff is magic for hangovers. A powerhouse of probiotics, B vitamins, liver supporting detoxifiers and a laundry list of other nutrients, this alone might do the trick for you. If you can, drink some kombucha right after your done indulging, especially right before bed.
TAKE THESE HERBS AND SPICES
Herbs and spices are invaluable hangover cures as they address the underlying causes and offer gentle relief. This post from Natural News brings to you five herbs and spices that help relieve hangover symptom.
Most of us have experienced the dreaded feeling of a hangover. As the distinctive headache, nausea, and muscle aches set in, you can see clearly that you have not treated your body kindly with your overindulgence. Now it is time to apologize to your body by providing it with what it needs to heal and get you back in tip top shape as soon as possible.
Excessive drinking affects the body in a number of negative ways leading to what is experienced as a hangover. Perhaps the most well known effect on the body is dehydration. It also increases the acidity in the digestive system, causes the loss of potassium and vitamins, makes the liver work very hard, adds toxins to the body, and affects the nervous system. Many herbs and spices can help relieve the symptoms of a hangover by addressing these underlying causes of your suffering.
Cumin For The Digestive System
Cumin is a common spice that most of us already have in our cupboards, and if not, it can be purchased at just about any grocery store. This spice is useful as a hangover cure because it is soothing for the digestive system. It even helps with flatulence, which can come after a night of drinking, especially if beer is your drink of choice.
Ginger For The Whole Body
Ginger is readily available in grocery stores in both fresh or powdered forms. Consuming ginger, fresh or powdered, provides many health benefits to help with healing from a hangover. Ginger helps relieve headaches and reduces nausea, taking care of the two main symptoms of a hangover. It also has cleansing properties for the whole body, and stimulates blood flow to the digestive system. So it helps clean out the toxins that have accumulated and absorb the nutrients that you are working hard to replenish. (3)
Chamomile For The Stomach And To Relax
Chamomile has two main benefits for sufferers of a hangover. It is a mild pain reliever and it settles the stomach. Chamomile tea is readily available in grocery stores, but alternatively, fresh or dried flowers could be consumed for the same benefits. The flowers are often available at health food stores or online. (3)
Lavender For The Nervous System and Digestive Tract
Lavender is a great herb to cure a hangover. It is a nervous system tonic and a circulatory stimulant helping with the digestive tract. Lavender is available fresh is some stores or more commonly as a tea. It is also easy to grow and makes a great addition to any flower garden.
Slippery Elm Bark Powder
Slippery elm bark powder is far from a common ingredient for most of us. Yet it is extremely useful to coat the stomach after excessive drinking to protect the stomach from the increased acidity. Symptoms of indigestion and diarrhea are both helped from the soothing effect of this powder. It can be purchased at alternative health food stores or online.
After a hard night of drinking, rehydrate, replenish nutrients, cleanse the body, and soothe the digestive system with this smoothie.
- 1/2 cup chamomile tea
- 1 lemon peeled and seeded
- 1 apple
- 1 banana
- 1/2 inch piece of ginger root
- 1/2 tsp slippery elm bark
- 1/2 tsp of lavender flowers or cumin (optional)
Brew chamomile tea and let cool. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.